Four years ago when I started volunteering at JOIN, I met many interesting people at the day center, aka “the house”. Some people I saw once or twice and some I saw everyday. Many of the regulars I got to know well, and when I left for college I stayed in touch with many of them. In the past when I only worked in the day center, when someone transitioned into housing I generally did not see them very often afterward, if at all. Now I spend the majority of my time visiting folks and helping out the retention team. It is wonderful getting to see people who I’ve known for several years transition from outside to inside in housing. Instead of seeing them at the day center, I get to sit on their couch and chat with them in their own place.
I have the opportunity and pleasure to visit one of the people who I have known for awhile but had lost contact with. One of the retention workers mentioned that this guy could benefit from some more visiting. I didn’t recognize his last name so I thought it was someone I hadn’t met yet, but when he came into JOIN and Steve introduced us, I recognized him immediately and was so glad to see him again after having not seen him for a long time. Shortly thereafter I started visiting him at his home weekly. I often spend about an hour and half to two hours hanging around and chatting with him, sometimes going on walks in his neighborhood or grabbing coffee nearby. I love visiting him, he is such a kind hearted good soul, it never feels like work when I visit him.
He is currently struggling with depression and the past few weeks were really hard on him, so I wanted to do something special with him to cheer him up a bit. After finding out he likes stir frys, we set a date to cook stir fry for dinner together. So yesterday my boyfriend (whom he had mentioned he wanted to meet) and I headed over to his place with our share of the ingredients. Within five minutes he and my boyfriend were chatting it up and getting along wonderfully. As I was slicing the peppers while watching them talk, I jut had to smile to myself. It was so wonderful to see him sitting in his own home rather than outside and at the JOIN day center. It makes me so happy to know I have been able to create such a strong relationship with this guy and to know that he trusts me as much as he does. Because of JOIN’s encouragement and support I have been able to build this close relationship with him.